Virtues that grant xps after character creation....


Having gone through Virtues and Flaws for Spontaneous Casting, both exhaustively and exhaustingly, and have having succumbed to someone's casting of Asperger's Search for the Missing Detail, I'm gonna talk about these.

The benchmark against which I measure these Virtues is Good Parens. This Virtue provides 60xp plus 30 spell levels. This can be considered the "principal," the xp value of one virtue point. A virtue that grants xp is like capital sunk into an enterprise. How long does it take the virtue to pay for itself?

Few of these virtues are worth anything in a saga with little advancement.

(For the sake of sanity, I am assuming the following rules about the 1xp gained per season of useful Correspondence: 1) The 1 xp gained is not considered gained from either a book or a teacher. 2) It does not trigger Good Reader, for an additional 3xp. 3) It does not trigger Study Bonus, for an additional 2xp. 4) It is not augmented by anyone's Good Teacher. 4) The xp must be taken in an Art or Ability for which xp is already being gained this season through the season's primary activity, which represents its being "on a theme that is associated with the magus's research or writing." Thus, this 1xp cannot trigger Secondary Insight or Elemental Magic. 5) An Affinity might apply to this 1xp, but does so together with other xp gained rather than being calculated a second time on this xp.)

Book Learner: I see this as the king of xp-granting virtues. For a minor virtue, pretty much any season spent reading--and that will be most seasons in most sagas--comes with 3 extra xp. It works for Arts and Abilities, anything for which there is a text! In most sagas, reading books is already the most efficient way to gain xp, which reinforces the tendency to read your way to Ultimate Power. Around 9xp/year for a minor virtue? Perhaps 1000xp over a career? For doing exactly what you were going to do anyway? Sweet. This virtue pays back its xp in 20 seasons of use. Let's call it 7 years. Nice!

Affinity: Each only works on a single Art or Ability, and grants xps in proportion to those allocated to the relevant Art or Ability. So an Affinity is limited. It is further limited in that xp put in one place offers diminishing returns. On the positive side, it applies to all sources of xp, and specialization is good! Over the course of a career, a specialist can easily end up throwing more than 450 points into an Art (to reach 30) making this virtue worth 150xp, and probably not more than 200. If a magus lives 100 years, that's a pretty poor return. What makes Affinities great is that they also work during character creation. A character who dumps 80 points into an Art immediately receives 40xp, the benefits of a starting Art at 15, and can repay the principal quickly, depending on what he does. Or, dump 140 points into the Art and start at 20, having already done as well as Strong Parens (10 extra xp versus 30 spell levels) and with only profit remaining.

Free Study: Like Book Learner, but for vis. In most sagas, a magus will never get to study from vis. In those where magi do study from vis, it will probably take many decades to use this virtue 20 times. Usually worth avoiding.

Study Bonus: This works with books and vis, but only provides a +2 bonus, only works with Arts and requires that study be done in places that become increasingly inconvenient, dangerous and potentially disruptive in proportion to the Art score being improved. Potentially worth taking after Book Learner, but it pays for itself more slowly, even if the covenant is willing to let you study those precious tractatuseses inside the volcano.

Secondary Insight: This is a major virtue. It only works when studying Arts from books, teachers and vis, in which case it yields 2xp or 4xp. It is better than Book Learner in that it also works with teachers and vis, but worse in that it only works with Arts. Its xp yield is comparable, despite being a major virtue. Like Book Learner, it does not affect xp gained during character creation, Practice, Adventure or Exposure. Overall it's as good as Book Learner, for thrice the cost. Figure 21 years or more to break even on this one. Worth avoiding, unless your saga has house rules or creative readings of existing rules that allow SI to trigger more than once per season.

Elemental Magic: This one bears thinking about. It only works with the four elements, so it's bad for characters who aren't very interested in these. This virtue grants 3xp in any season spent studying an element, which makes it strictly worse than Book Learner or Secondary Insights when reading, and worse than SI when SI works. It also does nothing during character creation. But EM can trigger twice from Exposure, and four times from Adventure. So.... how often will your character want to use Exposure or Adventure? A mere 5 seasons of Adventure or ten seasons of Exposure multiplied by 3 (because this is a Major Virtue) can pay this one off. Most characters prefer to read, but Exposure and Adventure no longer completely suck. Lots of ifs here.

Flawless Magic: This virtue provides 5xp for every Formulaic and Ritual spell learned. It also doubles the xp gained for practicing spells for Mastery. A tricky virtue, this one. It can provide many xp, but are they all worthwhile? Some spells are not worth mastering; should these xp count? A magus who learns 50 formulaic spells during his career gains 250xp from that. If he raises five of these masteries to level 5, he gains ((75-5)/2)*5 = 165xp from that. If he raises ten more of these to level 2, he gains 50xp from that. We're looking at up to 500xp gained from this virtue over the course of a career. This compares unfavorably with Book Learner, especially since some of these xps are in spells where Mastery isn't very important, and since Book Learner applies to books about Mastering spells. Yet the xp value is deceptive. Mastery texts are easy to find for some spells but not others. A magus who wants to master his Secret Ritual or rare spell is stuck with Practice, Adventure and Exposure, all normally very slow. The value of FM in this case might better be measured in seasons: Practicing to reach Mastery 1/2/3/4/5/6 saves a magus with FM 1/2/3/5/8/11 seasons, that could be spent, say, reading texts (using Book Learner :slight_smile: ). How many spells will your magus master?

Learn Ability From Mistakes: At most, this will trigger once per session per instance of this virtue, which means it will pay for itself in no less than 12 sessions. Depending on your saga, this rate of xp gain is either incredibly fast or incredibly slow, with a maximized value in sagas that run often and last long in real time, with time passing slowly in game time. Its value also depends on whether your SG is going to give you credit for failing by exactly one point as often as it happens.

Independent Study: This one is from the Merinita section of HoH:MC, and provide an extra 3xp for Adventure and 2xp for Practice. If your character does this often, great. In most sagas, however, reading books is more efficient even without Book Learner. In the same way that 3xp extra when studying from vis is less valuable than 3xp extra when studying from text, because one source is better than the other, so too with this Virtue. It is not efficient for most characters, but might be essential for some concepts. Naturally, in sagas with house rules and special arrangements, things might be different.

Puissant Art/Ability: This doesn't grant xps directly, but its current xp value can always be determined precisely. For an Art score of X, it is worth 6+3X xp. For an Ability, it is worth 5(3+2*X) xp. It breaks even with Good Parens when a natural Art score is 18 or when a natural Ability score is 5. It will almost never provide more than 100xp of value. This isn't very xp efficient, and never worth taking except for specialists, for whom it lets them be who they are early, a subtle benefit not to be underestimated.



Suggestion, change that to "an Art or Ability for which xp COULD be gained this season". Might not want to put the xp in the same place.
Just a minor nitpick.

First i went "huh" when reading that... The way we run Affinities is by having an "actual" number for xp and one for xp after modified for Affinity, this way getting a single xp or uneven amounts of xp isnt a problem any more since the original number of xp are still recorded.

Also not to forget, if playing by RAW, it allows you to have ability scores +2 higher from start. That can sometimes be very worthwhile even if its not a huge thing.

Yeah, needs improving certainly!
And same goes even more for Study bonus. Especially the progression of requirements is just nasty.

Its a little better than that. Not much but still a little.
Its best use is if there is a major shortage of texts for some Arts but plenty for others, as it can then be used to improve the ones with few texts by reading the others. Ineffective and not much good still...

Unfortunately the RAW wording is about gaining xp from study... Unless there´s an errata for it that i missed, it triggers only like SI.
Something you missed however is that EM allows you to ignore other elemental requisites. Not a huge thing but still very helpful at times.

Combined with Cautious Sorcerer it however gives a vastly reduced botch risk which almost makes it worth it alone.
Purely on an xp basis, it isnt that overly great. OTOH its often very nice indeed to get a mastery automatically when learning a spell.
So, on xp only basis its decent, but all bonuses totalled, its great.

Even if the Ability is used every "play-session" its far from always you botch in it and fail by exactly 1 point is actually rather hard...
This "virtue" sucks pathetically.
Change it to Major and have it apply to all Abilities and Arts and it might be useful, although then of course it might get TOO GOOD... sigh

Independent study is weak but not really bad as long as you have a character that makes use of it often enough. For most characters its not very useful though. Can be nice for a spell mastery freak to take though, as the practise xp bonus gets doubled by Flawless Magic.

We changed puissant so that it adds fully to the score rather than as a "use only" bonus. This means its counted when teaching or writing as well, making it clearly more useful. Also changed Art bonus to 4 to mesh properly with other HRs, as the 2 to abilities and 3 to arts skews how its done elsewhere.

That also allowed adding a virtue that works like the original puissant, but with a slightly higher bonus. Giving the tradeoff between higher bonus or more useful.
Will never go back to RAW version of puissant for certain!

Full agreement here.

I would say that Affinities can be rather useful even for a generalist, but only insofar as they are both applied to Techniques. Moreover, from an optimization PoV, one should strive as far as possible to fulfill specializations by putting the Affinities on the Techniques rather than the Forms. It yields the same xp bonus, while reducing the risk of being a one-trick pony that the maximized Forms or TeFo maximized combo carry.

It varies with the relative availability of books and vis in individual sagas, but I gree that it is definitely inferior to Book Learner, Good Parens, and Study Bonus.

I think you are significantly undervaluing the benefits of Study Bonus here. First, by checking at the Virtue table, it appears clear that the required environments for study only tend to become significantly inconvenient, dangerous, and/or disruptive to study only at Art scores 25+, and only substantially so at Art scores 30+. In other words, you can use this Virtue to augment study of any Art, from books or vis, up to Art score 24+ with a few preparations and limited incovenience, and up to Art Score 29+ with significant but manageable preparations and precautions. This covers the vast majority of development in any art even for a specialist.

Moreover, in ArM 5th ed., within any single covenant, availability of multiple copies of any book should never be a significant issue, since any mundane scribe with Magic Theory and all four Realm Lores at 1+, is perfectly capable of copying any book accurately (in most cases, MT would suffice, since it is the relevant ability for the Hermetic Arts, but Realm Lores are necessary to copy texts for Supernatural Abilities and non-Hermetic magic; in most cases, Magic Lore and Faerie Lore would be sufficient, Dominion Lore only being necessary for the rare holy magus or for SH&UH). The mage who copies books personally either lives in the most destitute covenant imaginable or is a micromanagement self-defeating freak. Having a ready extra copy of any text in the covenant library should never be a issue in a decent covenant, and the wise magus should care about hiring good scribes, illuminators, and bookbinders well before he does about hiring guard grogs or blacksmiths. It also pays to have multiple book specialists in all but the smallest and poorest covenants.

Therefore, I would rate Study Bonus as coming just after Book Learner and Good Parens in effectiveness, for all but the most dedicated specialists, who benefit most from Affinities.


All in all, EM is essentially a specialized form of SI, only made a bit better by the removal of elemental prerequisites. I would take EM before SI, but both are inferior to a BL/SB/Aff combo to represent a talented magical student.

I also point out that FM is worthless to a spont specialist, whereas the other virtues are fine to him, according to their respective inherent value of course.

Bah, how many single Abilities does a maga use often enough for this Virtue to be worthwhile anyway, since it only applies to a single Ability ? Almost worthless IMO.

Agreed, its value is highly dependent on individual sagas and concepts. In some, it may be almost as useful as BL or SB.

Agreed, in most cases PA is only worthwhile if one wants to make a specialization effective just after apprenticeship, otherwise in the long term Affinity is a better deal.

Advancement rules are illogical as you noticed.

However Independent study is not weak. You should consider grogs and companions, too. It is a quite useful virtue for them.

Very yes.

If it gave the same bonus as BL, then MAYBE yes...
As it is you have to accomodate the study subject properly, its only applicable to arts and it only gives 2/3 of the bonus in the end anyway...
Definitely not close to BL. Give it a +4 bonus and you´re looking at something that actually competes seriously with BL.
+3 and at least its halfdecent. I would still pick BL instead of it at +3. No reason not to.

If one does play a sage with companion PCs, that is. But I agree on the general point.

Oh, I definitely agree with you that BL always takes precedence on SB. My point, which perhaps I did not make clearly, is that SB would be a virtue sufficiently worthwhile on its own to have, in addition to BL, not instead of it, which cannot be said about most of the other discussed Virtues.

In other words, BL is king for the generalist and very nice for the specialist, the reverse is true for Affinities. SB makes a very nice "sidekick" virtue to have in addition to either (or both) of the above. IS is very nice for some mage concepts and sagas, king for companion PCs, if your saga has them. FS is a distant third, the other virtues are not typically worth to have, even in addition to the above (maybe puissant if the concept needs to be good up front in a specialization).

I think if you want to write good house rules to the advancement you should handle every part of the issue. So you should start with the aims and not the numbers. For example I would rework the rules to make the vis learning useful.


My wording is deliberate. A switch to your wording would allow Elemental Magic, and possibly Secondary Insight, to be triggered by this extra xp.

Although I find these virtues weak as written, I like the extensions to the book rules even less. I would rather abstract the whole thing (of course your magus is involved in correspondence all the time), just as I prefer greater abstraction of libraries in general (gaining better accuracy at the cost of precision).

Thanks for the reminder! The value of an Affinity is greater than its xp value suggests, because of where they go. Some xps are better than others. Starting with 2 Arts at 20 has a synergy all its own. Starting with high Magic Theory, for some characters, again. And for an Ex Misc tradition that quietly teaches their apprentices lots of Parma Magica, so they begin play with a 6 or 7 (8 or 9 with an Affinity).... Priceless.

Yeah. Better to buy some books! If it can be done without an adventure, great. If it takes an Adventure, those xps can go toward the weak Arts and then keep reading. :slight_smile:

Ah. "Study" is a vague word, not explicitly defined in Ars Magica. For example, you and I might think that learning from a teacher is "study," yet the description on page 164 never uses the word. Training? Likewise. Note the discussion of Adventure on page 163: "A character may choose not to take eperience from an adventure if the adventure was short enough to allow other study." So adventure counts as study! So does exposure! So RAW, Elemental Magic triggers from Exposure and Adventure.

A pretty tiny thing; how many spells have been written up where this matters? It would be huge if elemental spells ignored all Form requisites. That change would make the virtue worth taking.

I thought about that during my writeup. I also like that synergy. A Cautious Sorcerer (with a good familiar!) will benefit immensely from just one level of Mastery. But does he really need it on all his spells? If he took just the Mastery he wanted, how many seasons does Flawless Magic actually save him? Since this is the very same consideration as a non-cautious sorcerer, I let it go. In a similar way, I didn't discuss Flexible Formulaic Magic (on the one hand, mastery becomes more valuable, but on the other hand, this character might not need as many spells to master).

Yes, and the value can be calculated: It saves the magus one season if he was going to Master the spell in the first place. If the Mastery is just something cool, but not normally worth a season of effort, the magus got a freebie that wasn't worth a season to him.

This returns us to considering how many seasons Flawless Magic actually saves, and its value.

I see its value purely as time. That's its entire "all bonuses totalled." It's not a bad virtue, I think, but not great.

I think it depends on the Ability (or Art, but less likely) chosen. A character who uses one Ability 50 times in a session will almost certainly trigger it. Penetration, perhaps? A combat ability?

Granted, I also don't like the virtue, but for a reason that has nothing to do with xp efficiency: It only works when the character fails, and I'd rather optimize a character to succeed.

Yeah, I considered that. Independent Study is bad if a character uses it only once per year. Also bad if he uses it just because he has it, rather than read. Bad from an optimization perspective, not necessarily bad from a 'concept character' perspective. A character with Independent Study does gain synergy with Flawless Magic, but not enough for me to suggest "Gotta take both!"

Unless I'm missing something, RAW, Puissant effectively adds to the Score everywhere a player would want it to and nowhere it doesn't.

That's certainly how I've always viewed it (and will so continue, even if that's not RAW.) I believe there's an errata that clarifies this to be so.




Not really. An Affinity with an Art is strictly inferior to Good Parens unless that Art starts play with or quickly attains 180xp in it (after the Affinity is applied). That's hardly a generalist!

Similarly, the big xp rewards from an Affinity come from specialization.

No no no! And no!

A character gets only two Art Affinities. If he takes both, one should go on a Form, the other on a Technique.

Such a character is not a one-trick pony. He is splendid in his TeFo, sure, but is also extremely effective in an entire Technique and an entire Form.

For example, a CrAu specialist who starts play with 18 in each, not only hurls lightning bolts, but can also heal, make stuff..... CrCo dude is not only a healing and longevity ritual specialist, but again can make stuff, levitate, even cast 7 League Stride. PeCo can kill you with a glance, but can also destroy other stuff, even heal you. ReMe can control a lot more than just your mind, and can do a lot more with your mind than just control it....

Affinities with two Techniques is generalizing.

Hmm. That's fair. Some covenants might not have access to all the requirements, even at low levels, and things start getting dicey at level 20, but until then, maybe. Maybe.

considers Ok.

Study Bonus is strictly inferior to Book Learner, in that it only works on Arts, provides fewer xp, and requires an appropriate environment. Its effect on vis comes into play rarely enough not to affect the virtue's overall value. Despite its lesser utility compared to BL, it can be worth taking in long-running sagas with a sympathetic SG. It is worth avoiding in sagas where the SG is going to exaggerate the difficulty posed by the study bonus requirement. You've been warned!

And also better in that RAW, it works with Exposure and Adventure.

grin Yes. Of course, a magus with FM is going to be something other than a spont specialist, just as a magus with EM will throw xp into the elements.....

Well, a character with one should take the other. PA isn't that valuable from the perspective of xp, but is incredibly valuable from the perspective of what it brings. The guy with Affinity+PA in an Art will always be better than the guy with just an Affinity. In that specialty. Starting play with mastery of one or two Arts is itself incredibly valuable.

Also note that Puissant Ability is much better than an Affinity with Ability. It takes a very long time for an Affinity to catch up. For many characters, Puissant Magic Theory is pure pure win, affecting every lab total.




BL is king for both. No matter what you read, BL is happy.

SB is strictly inferior to BL for both generalists and specialists.

Affinity is essential for a generalist at the start of play.




Hmm. Let's test this.

A grog can gain 50xp at creation for 1vp.

The grog might die on his first adventure--it's their job to die first, after all :slight_smile:/2--but let's assume he doesn't. He can also be injured and so on. On the outside, he has a useful career of 30 years. Let's call it 20.

His experience comes from Exposure--guard duty and stuff like that, Practice and Adventure. A typical year ought to be 2 seasons of Exposure, 1 Practice and 1 Adventure. That seems fair, since being a grog is like a full-time job. That's 5xp/year. So the grog has paid back his xp halfway through his career. Hmm. I'm less thrilled with this than you. Also note that a covenant with a Trainer can circumvent the need for or value of this virtue.

I'll pass on this one for grogs. I'd rather have Keen Eyes for a guard, Puissant Ability in a favored Ability, extra characteristic points... stuff that's immediately useful and never stops giving.

Companions.... too many of these to generalize.



Although this is a side issue to those you are considering, I think that Study Bonus is a godsend as a story-guide (and Study Requirement too).

Characters with these Virtues/Flaws are always off collecting stuff, or wanting to explore new locations, which instantly provides lots of opportunity for (and motivation to get involved in) stories. And you don't need to make it difficult to make a story out of it. If a character with a Study Bonus wants to study Herbam, then going into the forest near the covenant to scrounge together a collection of "interesting leaves" or something, makes a great opportunity to tell a story (or just a small vignette).


This is exactly the kind of saga for which I recommend not taking Study Bonus as a Virtue!

In the saga you describe, it functions like a Minor Story Flaw, providing a nice benefit with a hook for stories.



Several Items (in no particular order)...

1). Never realized you were limited to only 2 Art Affinities. Now I know. Don't think I ever violated this anywhere, so I am all good.

2). Secondary Insight is so meh. Meh meh meh. Someone might think of how to make use of it. I can't. I also don't like the current version of Elementalist. Very meh. Over priced.

3). Skilled Parens is indeed the best Minor Hermetic Virtue in the game. It boggled my mind why more people don't take it more often.

4). I am not a fan of labling Virtues & Flaws & Boons & Hooks as "Story". ack in the day, we never ever had any trouble coming up with story after story. Sometimes these things get in my way of the story I have going already. Sometimes I like to treat Story Flaws & Hooks as background material, they force your character to act a certain way most all of the time. Sometimes I like to let them simmer, the player knows it will explode sooner or later unless they do something proactive.
Also, as for the age old debate about multiple Story Flaws, I found an example in cannon where it reccomends a character take [b]two[/i] Major Story Flaws. ArM5, page 23, Companion Templates: Knight, under "Customization Notes".

  1. Flawless Magic is the single best Virtue in the game if you utilize it correctly. Now I personally prefer the Mercurian style Flambeau. Mercurian does not just mean "Ritual Spells". It can also mean a focus on Formulaics and spell mastery. Sponts are nice, but I find that I usually take a spell I am sponting and make it into a proper Formulaic when I get the chance. I like to master each and every spell. Every spell can benefit from Mastery. It reduces botch dice, very useful. And if there are no other Mastery Abilities that fit with the way you use the spell, at the very least take Stalwart. You can have a low casting total and not loose Fatigue, and Ritual Fatigue is short term as opposed to long.
    The benefit of FM, besides automatically mastering every spell, is that you double any xp placed into mastery. Some spells, if you want to really be impressive with mastery, you need a score of 4 or 5. Maybe 9! That is a lot of xp! I usually combine it with the Mastered Spells Virtue, gaining 50 Mastery xp and doubling them. I spend a lot of starting experience on them too.
    Now in practice. You are virtually doubling the quality of any source for mastery xp. Lets invent some averages. Saay the average Mastery Practice is 5 (which it is), the average Trainer is worth 5, average Mastery Tractatus is worth 6, and the average Teacher is worth 8. Flawless Magic doubles all those values, and it stacks with any other xp advantage. Say you have Book Learner. The Q6 Tractatus bbecomes Q9, then doubled for 18 mastery xp. Good Student adds +5 to the trainer Q5, for a total of 20 mastery xp.
    Big bonuses, but to be a true spell master, you are going to need it.

  2. Affinity versus Puissant: Puissant pays off quicker, but Affinity is better in the long run. Puissant can be picked up from a mystery or twilight. Affinity cannot (or rather, should not, technically you can). The value of an Affinity is less at first, but will eventually grow to be more valuable, and keeps growing. Puissant never changes. Finally, an Affinity affects the actual Art score. Puissant only adds when you are using it, and thus does not apply under all circumstances (such as Teaching or writing Books).

7). Self Confident is the very best Minor Virtue for all character types. It is simply essential if yours is at all an action/adventure oriented character, or any other role where you expect to roll dice often. Doesn't affect xp, but it will be of such benefit to you, your character will likely obtain greater privileges and resources in the long run.


It's awesome to be sure, yet not necessarily the best. Here are some that are at least as good:

Minor Hermetic Focus: Extremely efficient!
Cautious Sorcerer: Because no one likes botch-ulism!
Affinity with Art: Better than GP for characters pushing that Art. But why not take both?
Deft Form: Pick your favorite. Mentem is especially fun!
Puissant (Magic Theory or Parma): Yum. Though technically not a Hermetic Virtue.
Inventive Genius: Not for everyone, but if you want it, it's better

I see where you're coming from on this. I also disagree. I think it is a clever bit of design work to have players communicate the kind of stories they want their characters to have, using game mechanics. AM is not the only game to do this, nor the first, nor the most elegant, yet it's here and I like it.

Sure, it's possible to run stories without flaws. But when something is labeled Story Flaw, a player knows he's signing up for hardship. (You have a Major Story Flaw: Diedne; you don't get to whine or act all surprised.)

I'd like to see this.

Please provide a link to the character you are referring to, privately if that's more appropriate.

How many seasons did he spend Mastering spells? How many Mastered spells does he have?

FM is a decent virtue, sure. I don't yet see what you're seeing.

Affinity quickly beats Puissant--for Arts, not Abilities. A specialist in an Art probably wants both!!! Affinity first, for the reasons you describe.

What Minor Virtue do you speak of?



Roberto Rodruigez of Flambeau, my very favorite character of all time!

You have to scroll down. He is the second character in the Character Sheets section of Novus Mane (featured here on the Atlas Forums).
Everything is posted, everything he did in every season is listed in there. Five years out of Gauntlet, he started out with some pretty decent Mastery scores by combining Flawless Magic with Mastered Spells and Skilled Parens. Out of 22 seasons, he has actually only devoted two seasons towards practicing spell mastery. We are a poor covenant and have no mastery texts :frowning:. He also spent four seasons inventing six new spells, each of which started out mastered (which is what makes FM so valueable in the first place!). I also spent some adventure xp from a season on Mastery. And the results of two seasons are still yet to be determined.
So so far, including creation, development, and free mastery with every spell, I have an equivilent of 92.5 bonus experience points of mastered spells. And I am still in struggle mode to get the covenant on its feet, I will devote substantially more time towards inventing spells and mastering them as I grow older. At the twenty year mark, I would expect to have saved over 200xp on mastered spells. Probably much more. And I would say that there is only one or two mastery picks I regret choosing, not that Mastery is wasted on the spell, I just wish I made a wiser choice.

My bad. I misedited. I fixed it above. I mean Self Confident. The Self Confident Character will wind up accomplishing more, gaining the most out of adventures, scoring the greater resources, making the better Charm or Bargain rolls when negotiating for books, and on down the line.


If I ever write up a magus for a saga you run, it's useful to know you see it this way! :slight_smile:

However, I think that's saga specific.

Very saga specific.

If a SG is stingy with Confidence and forgets to give the guy with SC extra confidence, the virtue is worth much, much less. If the SG doesn't quite see eye to eye with the player about what deserves confidence, again.

The game mechanics of SC are ok: 2 extra cps to start and 2 can be used on a roll. Useful, but hardly setting a character above and beyond.




It also says countless times, in various supplements, that a flaw that doesn't hinder you is not a flaw, and thus shouldn't give you any points. Story flaws are a little different, in that they're here to draw you out of the lab, but still should obey this rule: It it's just fluff, you could roleplay it just as well.

As I understand, this is one of the reasons for this: As I told you before, if you know your story or personnality flaws aren't gonna spring up to bother you, from an optimisation pov, you should take as much of them as possible. Why bother?
In practice, better to be Proud or owe Favors (major flaws) than to be Lame or have Clumsy Magic (minor).
This is also the reason why I dislike allowing some characters to have more personnality/story flaws than others: In practice, they are less hindered, and I find this unfair.

This is what it should be, IMO.

In reality, it depends a lot of your GM, and his time. If he has 5 players, each with a major story flaws, how much will you suffer from it compared to, say, Careless Sorcerer?
And if he allows 2 major story flaws to each character? Will you ever be bothered enough by your diedne flaw?
Unless the GM spends his time on player flaws, the answer is probably no.


That's about the break-even point relative to Skilled Parens, since FM is a major virtue.

I note that you have taken many virtues that provide xp up front (warrior, skilled parens, mastered spells and flawless magic, for 6vp); this makes sense in a PBeM or other uncertain saga. You also took Puissant Arts rather than Affinities. You missed out on my favorite static xp-granting Virtue, Strong Faerie Blood. (Some folks are greedy, and see the "start aging at 50" aspect of this virtue as lengthening a magus' career. I see it as "ok, my character is 15 years older than he would be otherwise, and I'll take those 225xp right now. And oh cool, I have second sight, can see in the dark and have some faerie blood bonus.")

I'm not sure that this approach is better than a character with a focus, higher Arts and other tricks. In fact, I think it isn't. Roberto does have an advantage that the SG isn't going to notice a casting total of 60...

Affinity(Art)*2, Puissant(Art)*2, Skilled Parens, SFB, Major Magical Focus (or Minor Magical Focus, Book Learner and one more). Three more for Ex Misc.

300xp are available for magic. If a typical character becomes a magus at age 25, this guy does it at 40, providing 300 more xp for general abilities and second sight. Childhood xp as usual.

90 magic xp must go to:
Artes Liberales 1
Latin 4
Magic Theory 3
Parma Magica 1

This leaves 210xp for Arts, allowing 2 Arts to start at 17+3=20.

(Pausing for a moment, right out of Gauntlet, Roberto has around 250 extra xp from his 6vp; this guy has 396 extra xp from his 6vp of experience enhancing virtues. They have spent these xp very differently. Roberto will continue to earn xps from mastering spells. This guy will continue to gain xp from boosting his favored Arts; he also has Second Sight, can see in the dark and has a Faerie Blood Bonus of some kind; he will age slightly better even though he is 15 years older due to his +3 bonus to aging rolls, but this isn't an important advantage. Very different characters, and in terms of numbers I don't know which is better.)

Choose a focus that also covers your familiar. Animal foci are obvious, but other foci can also work. (Focus: Faeries, and bind a Faerie Familiar, but then you lose something else to gain Faerie Magic. Focus: The Sun and bind a lion or other animal king. Focus: Mercury and bind a carrier pigeon or other messenger. Depending on your personality and relationship with your familiar, Lucrum, Frates, Valetudo, Uxor might apply. Moving away from astrology, a focus in "knights and their accoutrements" could let you bond a horse. Or a focus in "ties" or "bonds." Others come to mind.)

First personal objective: find and bind a familiar using your two good Arts and the focus! This will be an awesome familiar, worthy of your binding total of ~70!!

Again, not saying this is better, but I also don't think this is worse. Spell Mastery is good, but of everything might be overkill.



My favorite storyteller of all time called Flaws "The Good Stuff". Because thats what gave her story ideas.

I like taking more flaws than normal, not taking points for them and just role playing it. Then when your dependent grows up or gets old and dies, you have back up flaws to substitute. :slight_smile:

On the flip side of story flaws not mattering... if your virtues don't come into play I don't think your flaws should much either. I think the more your Virtues come into play the more your flaws should.

BTW you shouldn't use skilled parens as a gauge... it's got a hidden minor story flaw in it. Your relationship with your paren.

That and 30 levels of spells is either 1 season of time for an old magus or 10 years for an inept one out of apprenticeship. Other forms of xp can be compared, but depending on the character those 30 levels could mean an awful lot.